As a pediatric neurologist at Georgetown University Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Marianne Schuelein came to understand the problems of affordable child care from her own experience as a working mother. In 1973, as vice president of the District of Columbia chapter of the American Woman's Medical Association, she decided to present the issue directly to Albert Ullman (D-Oregon), chair of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1976, Congress passed a law allowing child care tax deductions, enabling more women to work outside the home.
Schuelein was born in Germany in 1934. Although her family was well-respected in their home near Stuttgart, they were Jewish and already feeling the effects of Nazi oppression. They managed to emigrate to the United States in 1938, and Schuelein attended New York's public schools where she learned English. At Wellesley College she decided to turn her interest in science into a career in medicine.
Schuelein earned her doctor of medicine degree at New York University and did her internship at Yale University, where she settled on the specialty of pediatrics.
She married Ralph Krause, a mathematician, in 1960, and moved to Chicago for her residency in pediatrics, becoming increasingly interested in cases that involved the nervous system and its disorders. When she took a fellowship at Children's Hospital, Washington, D.C., in 1962, she worked with Dr. Richmond Paine, a noted pediatric neurologist. That experience led her to another residency in neurology at Georgetown University. She took a full-time academic position at Georgetown, teaching pediatric neurology to medical students and residents, and established her clinical practice.
When her children were born in 1966 and 1971, she realized that there was a lot more to caring for an infant than she had been led to believe in medical school. "Although I was a doctor, I was totally unprepared when I had my first baby. So much that I thought I 'knew' turned out to be different." One thing she learned was how difficult it was to be a working mother, even with a nanny and babysitter, which many women couldn't afford. In 1973 se campaigned for childcare tax deductions, a provision which was made law in 1976 to the benefit of working women in various professions.
Schuelein has been an effective medical legal consultant and spokesperson for patients and physicians on many other issues as well, from ethics, licensing, and malpractice to international adoptions and problems in dealing with insurance companies. She has also served as president of the Cosmos Club, a prestigious association of scientists and other notables.
Schuelein credits her accomplishments to "an extremely supportive husband," good kids, and summer vacations with helping her maintain a balance in her life and find the time and energy she needs for her patients, students, and consulting. Despite the long hours, she is dedicated to her work and grateful that as a tenured professor, she will never be forced to retire.